THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN STUDENT TEMPERAMENT AND STUDENT-TEACHER INTERACTION

JOHN JOSEPH HENNESSY, Fordham University

Abstract

This study compared the frequency of various kinds of teacher-student dyadic interactions for children who differed by temperament, sex and income level. The subjects were 27 boys and 27 girls in kindergarten and grades one and two from two elementary schools, one representing a low income population and the other a high income level. Temperament was measured by the Behavioral Style Questionnaire, which was completed by each child's parent. The Brophy-Good Dyadic Observation System was used to record teacher-student interaction.^ This study sought to determine if there were significant differences in the frequency and types of teacher-student interactions between easy, difficult and slow to warm up children; between boys and girls; and between students from high and low income levels. It also sought to determine if there were any significant interaction effects between the independent variables. A three way analysis of variance was used to compare the means of the three groups.^ The following results were reported: (1) There were several significant differences by temperament on the frequency measures: (a) difficult children had significantly more total interactions with teachers and more interactions involving criticism than slow to warm up children; and (b) difficult children had significantly more disciplinary interactions than the other two groups. (2) There wre significant differences between students in the low and high income conditions on four of the frequency measures: low income students engaged in more (a) disciplinary interactions, (b) interactions involving criticism by the teacher, and (c) both more student- and teacher-initiated private interactions. (3) There was an interaction effect between sex and income level on the frequency of student-initiated interactions. Girls in the low income condition initiated the highest number of interactions with teachers, while girls in the high income group initiated the fewest.^ These results were interpreted as indicating that child temperament is a relevant factor in teacher-student relationships. Teacher behavior and child temperament interact such that some children receive a disproportionately high share of teacher attention and criticism, while others are relatively ignored by their teachers. It was recommended that temperament be included in assessment profiles of children and that teachers be trained to recognize and deal with manifestations of temperamental style. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

HENNESSY, JOHN JOSEPH, "THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN STUDENT TEMPERAMENT AND STUDENT-TEACHER INTERACTION" (1983). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8308475.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8308475

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